QA with Tom Dundon New Hurricanes owner talks franchises fut

QA with Tom Dundon New Hurricanes owner talks franchises fut

RALEIGH, N.C. Three weeks into his tenure, TomDundon has already made his mark on the Carolina Hurricanes. The NHLs newest owner has invited all fans to Juan Samuel Jersey fill the lower bowl for a game versus Ottawa, offereda pair of season ticket holders a chance to travel onthe team charter, and is pushing for a new scoreboard at PNC Arena.

Dundonrecently sat downwith Sporting News for aninterview discu singhis motivation for buying the team, the franchise's goals, his definition of the "Hurricane Way" and more.


Note: Portions of the interview have been edited for brevity and clarity.

SPORTING NEWS: Why purchase an NHL franchise now?

TOM DUNDON:Ive always been interested in sports, and I had my career. When I retired and looked at things to do, I wasnt finding things to do. I wasnt finding anything that was really interesting that I could be pa sionate about. I started looking at sports ownership, and I came acro s this team and started to research and look at it and started watching the games and became a fan. At the same time, I was trying to do the deal, I started liking the team and it all came together.

SN: You grew up in New York, right?

TD:I was born in New York, I lived in the south of New Jersey, and then Houston, but Ive been in Dallas for most of my life.

SN: Those areas all have sports franchises. Whichteams did you cheer for growing up?

TD: I was a New York Rangers fan when I was little. When I was little, the 1980 Olympic team Miracle on Ice was the big defining moment Cesar Hernandez Jersey in hockey for people my age and then when I moved to Texas, there wasnt any hockey so I probably didnt think about it much over the years.

The internet wasnt the same back then. You of course couldnt watch any games. Then when I graduated from college, the Stars came to Dallas. I lived by the arena and sort of followed the team since then. So thats most of what Ive watched of hockey is the Stars.


SN: Three weeks into your ownership, youve done an awful lot. That includes a unique idea. What was your inspiration for that idea?

TD: The teams in Dallasthe Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars do a really good job with their fan experience. I noticed the first time I was here,I thought we could do better. Also, I think its important that theres energy in the building and that you have some sort of home-ice advantage.

I think that the players notice and I think the fans notice if theres somewhere where you have some energy. That was maybe one of the first things I noticed, that we have to make sure that we have the lower bowl energetic every night. Weve got to do a lot of things to do that, and it gets easier when you have succe s. As the team has more Aaron Altherr Jersey succe s, itll happen more organically.

SN: You mentioned Dallas a couple of times. Whats your relationship with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban?

TD: Hes a good friend. Ive talked to him about this. I watched what he did with the Mavericks. The Mavericks were one of the worst franchises in profe sional sports when he bought them, with a low season ticket base, bad game presentation, bad team.

I watched what he did and how he changed it. Theres probably a lot of similarities. He invested in the fans and in the experience and making sure players had all the advantages and amenities they needed to perform their best, and nothing thats super technical, nothing thats super hard to understand. Its just work.


SN: Did he have any advice for you regarding the Hurricanes? Did he have advice for things like filling the lower bowl? What type of ideas has he thrown your way?

TD: Its interesting.I did talk to him about that idea, just coincidentally. Just talking through some of the logistics you have to deal with when you do something like that, because theyve done something similar like that in the past, and just kind of seeing how they dealt with it and what the upside of it is, and the downside.

We Carlos Santana Jersey happened to have that conversation, but I think most of the advice is the obvious stuff. Youve got to entertain the fans. They have to know the players, they have to get value. Things that every busine s should do.

SN: Are there parallels between how an NBA team can operate versus an NHL team?

TD: I think sports is pretty similar acro s the board. You have to make good decisions with personnel. You have to have good coaches. You have to have fans that are engaged. So I a sume there are lots of parallels, but theres lots of parallels to every busine s. This is a busine s and you have to do everything a certain way.

I think that if you have standards and energy and enthusiasm to make things the best they can be. I want the food here to be good.I want there to be short lines.I want the team to be good, and I want the trainers to be great. So, I look at all the pieces Tommy Joseph Jersey of this busine s and think about how can we be one of the best in each piece. And I think thats the same thing youd do in the NBA or in any busine s.

SN: Have you reached out to Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan at all?

TD: Laughs I dont know him.

SN: What about any other sports franchise owners you look atas friends or advisors?

TD: Yeah, I have a couple of buddies that own teams. Everybodys so different in the way they go about it. Watching Jerry Jones in Dallas, David Robertson Jersey hes super pa sionate about his team. He understands the teams a brand and it belongs to the town, and you want to be part of the community and make sure people are talking about it. You could take different things from different people. But this isnt that complicated, its just work.

SN: Has there been a learning curve three weeks in?

TD: I dont know. I hadnt thought about the learning curve because the things to do are right there in front of you. Theyre fairly obvious. I think its le s about the learning curve, its more about what can you accomplish now versus what you have to plan out and do long term. Thats what Im getting a feel for. What are changes we can make and its OK if theyre not thought out or planned out, because those changes are still better than what youre doing today?

Whereas if you want to wear a new jersey, theres a lot of planning, working with the NHL, thinking about making sure you have the merchandise available, how you source it, where you se


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